R.P. Howgrave Graham

The ashes of Robert Pickersgill Howgrave Graham, F.S.A., M.I.E.E., Assistant Keeper of the Muniments of Westminster Abbey from 1948-1959, are buried in the Islip chapel in the Abbey. But he has no marker.

He was born on 9th July 1880, son of Henry, and took up the Abbey post after he had retired. An archaeologist and horologist he was also a gifted photographer and left his large collection of negatives of the Abbey to the Library there. After wartime water damage to the wooden funeral effigy collection in the Abbey Museum he painstakingly restored them, including the earliest effigy, Edward III, and the death mask of Henry VII. He wrote the Hymn of St Edward in 1943 to the tune Agincourt which was sung for many years on St Edward the Confessor's feast day each October. He proposed to his housekeeper, Beatrice, daughter of John Purdy, during an air raid and they married at the Abbey on 7th November 1944. He died on 25th March 1959.

Further information

A diary covering his work on the effigies is Westminster Abbey Muniment 64922

The earlier royal funeral effigies. New light on portraiture in Westminster Abbey by R.P. Howgrave Graham, 1961

Westminster Abbey, various bosses, capitals and corbels of the 13th century by R.P. Howgrave Graham, BAA Journal, 1943

Westminster Abbey. The sequence and dates of the transepts and nave by R.P. Howgrave Graham, BAA

Unknown Westminster Abbey by L.E. Tanner with photos by Howgrave Graham, 1948


9th July 1880


25th March 1959




Islip Chapel

R.P. Howgrave Graham
R.P. Howgrave Graham

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster